Marling’s wintry folk songs engage with darkness on album two

The second album by Laura Marling is tailor-made for winter. The dense mania of “Devil’s Spoke” and “Hope in the Air” evoke stormy nights, while she adopts a grave tone. The 19-year-old starkly examines expectations of young women by trying on roles like maid, mother, lover, and on the title track, Penelope, wife of Odysseus. There are welcome moments of light amid the darkness: the conversational tumble of “Maid by Maid”, and the cosy bonhomie of “Darkness Descends”.

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